If you missed the announcement that earlier this fall I jumped headfirst into a new project – a cottage on the edge of Hood Canal in Washington state, don’t worry, you haven’t missed much. If the fact that we made the decision to take on another major renovation project amidst a global pandemic didn’t seem crazy enough – well everything that could go wrong with the house did. It’s all very 2020.

I won’t bore you with the very long story, but in a nutshell on the day before we were set to close the house flooded almost thwarting the entire thing. In the end, we did end up with the house and the need for all new floors (among other unanticipated fixes). But after six years of working on a renovation this almost felt like a drop in the bucket.

Before I break for the holidays, I just had to share the cottage’s before tour and give you a little peek into my design plans. I’ll be pausing through the rest of the year (save for updates to the The Apt34 Shop!) in the hopes of getting all the design locked. I keep thinking if I’m organized enough there’s a chance we might be able to be in there in time for the mid-winter break. Even after the most disastrous of years, I somehow still believe in miracles.

For now, let’s dive in into what I’m starting with. If you thought This Old Victorian’s before pics were dramatic – buckle up.

We shall begin in the house’s living room. This is the space you enter as you step through the front door. I’m going to admit upfront it was not the house that attracted me to this project – it was that view out the windows. The house itself offers very little in the way of charm. Even though it was built in 2004, it held over every bad trend and builder grade detail from the late 1990s. Blech. I don’t have the advantage of built-in architectural interest with this bad boy. This is more of a lipstick on a pig situation.

Well, that’s not entirely true. I do have a vaulted ceiling to work with! A bit of saving grace. The ceiling inspired me to rip out the wall you see in the back corner of the above picture, creating one contiguous living, dining and kitchen space with the vaulted ceiling running end to end. The goal is to flip the vibe from late 90s basic suburban to…

to this – the ultimate Pacific Northwest coastal retreat – aka the anthesis of where things are at right now. I cannot wait.

The existing kitchen is not doing me any favors in that endeavor. Small with poor space planning and virtually no counter space, I’ll be starting with a blank slate in here. That’s where the flooded dishwasher actually did me a favor. We had to rip everything out. The kitchen design is actually the furthest along right now, but I’m going to save that for my next update post so we can really dig into the details. For now, know that everything you see here, goes (including the existing walls!).

Ok, I can’t help myself. Here’s a little sneak peek of the kitchen’s design direction. I’m working with Reform – the tippity top of my favorite kitchen lines to create my dream space. I am counting down the days until I stand in this kitchen and just oogle it all.day.long.

As we move into the bedrooms, the upstairs boasts three that will get a facelift for now. There will be a main bedroom, a guest bedroom and a kids room. Fresh paint, new floors and thoughtfully curated design details, from saying buh-bye to the boob lights to select furnishings  and maybe even wallpaper (whhhhaaaat) will breathe fresh life into each room. This is where I typically lie awake at night agonizing over design choices. The kid’s room is plaguing me right now. How over the top do I go? But that too is for another post.

The house’s bathrooms are another real treat – an homage to a totally different time. And really bold paint choices. But not in a good way. Again, we won’t be gutting the bathrooms for now – we have to prioritize, but I’m hoping to show you how swapping out key details and a few smart design choices can enliven even though most dated of spaces, all without breaking the bank. Wish me luck.

Downstairs we have a great room to play with along with an office and little playroom area. I’m particularly excited to transform this room into a cozy vacation oasis.  I see family movie nights and girls getaways cozied up with wine around the wood stove. The amount of hours I’ve already lost researching modern wood stoves would blow your mind. But I know the final result is going to be worth it.

So there you have it. This project is already an allegory of 2020, reminding me we are not in control, things you want often take much longer than you anticipate or desire, but in the end, hard work and perseverance pays off. Well, here’s hoping anyway.

Let me know in comments what you want to see as this project goes along. Spoiler alert, demo has started!

 

If you haven’t checked out the brand new Apt34 Shop – CLICK HERE!

I have worked from home since long before it became a public health requirement, so while it’s nothing new for me, I know first hand how important it is to have a functional and aesthetically pleasing place to work. The couch or the bed just really don’t cut it when you’re doing 9-5 without leaving the house. I’ve had many a home-office iteration over the years. You can see examples here, here and here. With no end to our WFH life in sight, I am so excited to finally share my completed home office with you. I hope it offers some inspiration for your own space.

Thankfully, long before the pandemic took over our lives, I’d planned to create the ultimate work-from-home space as part of our backyard makeover, building a little free-standing structure in the back corner. Just don’t call it a She-Shed! The pandemic put the brakes on finishing up the design for a few months, but now all the pieces have finally come together and I couldn’t feel luckier to have this little escape.

We worked with California-based Modern Spaces and Sheds to create the pre-fab structure for the office. Even though the building is only a 10’x10′ space,  I’m so happy to have all of the natural light – it makes the room feel much larger than it is. A slightly sloping ceiling also gives the illusion of more space.

But what really took the office design to the next level was working with California Closets. If you’ve followed my renovation journey you know California Closets has been my go-to to both optimize storage in This Old Victorian and also get the gorgeous design I crave (you can see my dream closet here and my pantry here).

Since I was finally moving out of the corner of our guest room, I knew I wanted to put an expansive built-in desk into this office in order to optimize the shed’s footprint, but also to help elevate the feel. I was going for elegant, cool, sophistication and I couldn’t be happier with the final result.

Over the course of the summer, I worked with my California Closets designer remotely and was able to finalize all of our choices online. Thank goodness for Zoom. She understood my vision immediately and was able to bring it to life. I love the mix of light wood with dramatic black accents. The black glass desktop adds a bit of sexiness.

The upper shelf was also one of my must-haves and California Closets made it work. I knew the shelf would be my major decorating moment – allowing me to display pieces that inspire and add major personality to the space. The shelf is also quite useful, as it features built-in LED lights, allowing me to skip the expense of wiring the shed for overhead lighting.

Let’s dig into some of the details. A moodboard is always a requirement in my world. I typically swap mine out seasonally. A simple, yet elegant leather tray from Bloomist’s new WFH Pro Gift Collection corrals note pads, pens, and other office-y odds and ends. On the shelf above, I get to display some of my treasured pieces including the Matin Lamp from Hay Design, ceramics from Simone Bodmer-Turner, Frama and CPH 101, and framed art prints. I’m a sucker for leaning art.

One of my first design decisions for the office was the floor. I knew from the get-go that I wanted herringbone floors – and this beautiful concrete tile from Clé makes me oh so happy. It also is extremely durable. Radiant heat makes sure the space is always toasty. Luna certainly approves!

My office space also serves multiple functions. I have enough space to roll out my yoga mat and do my Zoom classes. I also created my own private corner for self-care work including meditation and all my woo-woo ceremonies. I find daily or weekly rituals help ground me during this extremely chaotic time. Having an inviting set-up helps keep me motivated to invest the time to just sit and be still. If you know, you know.

Anyone else still collect print magazines?? I just love having something physical to thumb through for inspiration. Having my collections – Elle Decoration and Living Etc are favorites – right at my fingertips is also a great way to take a mental break during the day. The two sets of floating drawers give me just enough closed storage to hide away less than pretty office supplies and organize files without accumulating too much crap. This year is all about minimizing the clutter.

A finishing touch for any workspace is something living! As we spend so much time at home now, houseplants are an amazing way to bring the outside in. They’re good for your mental health and also for your physical health too as they help cleanse the air in your space. I worked with Leon and George, an awesome plant delivery service, to pick the ideal plant for my office – in this case, a Silver Evergreen. The Vayu planter from Light and Ladder is a truly stunning vessel. Love their designs!

I know I am incredibly lucky to have a space of my own to get through these tough times. If you can’t build a shed in your own backyard, there are tips and tricks for upgrading your own home office space – even if it’s just tucked into the corner of the living room. Here are a few of my favorites.

Try to work where this is maximum natural light. As we head into the winter months, natural light is going to help boost your mood and your energy levels.

Surround yourself with beautiful things that you love, art, objét, or a stack of books and magazines. A little bit of inspiration can go a long way.

Add plants!

Invest in a few pretty pieces that help keep your workspace organized and pulled together. It’ll help you feel more pulled together too – even if you haven’t taken the time to shower (it me!).

 

photography by aubrie pick, florals by marigold SF

Hello friends! Praise be, the election is over and I just marked my birthday over the weekend – my official holiday season milestone. Whenever the calendar passes November 8, I feel like I can finally turn 100% of my attention to all things holiday. Obviously, the holidays are going to look and feel very different than years past. Perhaps instead of the holiday season, we should start referring to the next few months as the hunker down season. Because that’s what holidays in the time of Covid are going to require of us. But I’m not entirely mad about the idea of holing up at home. I’ll take a very valid excuse to look for ways to make my home as cozy, comforting, and beautiful as possible.

Enter the new rug collection from Beni Rugs, designed by my style soul twin, Colin King.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

Called the Shape of Color, this new rug collection offers eleven Moroccan style rugs. Each rug features shocks of color inspired by Tangier and Marrakech. The hues are deeply saturated in simple geometric shapes or big bold stripes.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

While I typically eschew color, rugs are a wonderful spot to inject something fresh into a room. I used a bold colored rug in my own living room. The particularly nice thing about a rug – it’s an easy way to reenergize a space without really having to change anything else.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34 A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34 A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

There are a few secrets to picking out a rug. First, you want to think about size. A common mistake is getting a rug that is too small. You want all (or nearly all) your furniture in a space to sit on your rug. That helps a room feel anchored and like everything is working together. A too-small rug will actually make a small space feel even smaller!

Next, you want to think about foot traffic. If you’re looking to put a rug in a high foot traffic area, you’ll want to ensure any rug you select will withstand an onslaught of dirt and use.

Finally, when adding a colorful rug to your space you don’t need to “match your decor. You just want to keep everything in the same design family. Do you decorate with mostly warm colors or cooler tones? That will help you pick your colors.



 

If you’re looking to upgrade the coziness of your home before the holidays hit, I definitely think one of these rugs would be a great way to do it. I’m already debating which one I might add to our house. I do have a home office refresh in the works! If I pick out one of these rugs – I’ll be sure to share.

How are you planning on sprucing up your spaces for the holidays?

images c/o beni rugs

I know many espouse shopping vintage as the only way to inject “authentic personality” into your home. I wouldn’t say I disagree. I enjoy the vintage scavenger hunt as much as anyone, but sometimes you need more expedient options. And if those options look as good as these fall pieces from Anthropologie do, I’m totally ok with that.

I posted about Anthro’s latest collaboration last month and their hits just keep on coming. I’m the first to admit I’ve often thought of Anthro pieces as overly whimsical, feminine and a touch too cottage chic, but this new editorial shows that it all depends on your context. A beautiful home designed by famed architect Richard Neutra certainly helps. This one is for sale FYI!

But what this home tour really illustrates is that a piece can take on a totally different personality in a different environment – so really you shouldn’t rule an option out at first glance. Really think about how something will look and feel in your space regardless if it’s modern or bohemian-inspired.

I could not be more obsessed with this wood cabinet. It has a really unique a mesh overlay, a travertine top an gorgeous rounded corners.

Also I have to mention that this mix of wood tones is giving me all kinds of inspiration for our new cottage. And since I only have about 10 weeks to renovate and furnish the entire house, I’m fully ok with unearthing some gems – big box store or not.

This entire home is a beautiful study in mixing soothing neutrals, a variety of texture and a feeling of pieces being collected over time. But you didn’t have to wait years to stumble across the perfect treasure. And there’s no shame in that!

As we shift into the new season and really think about making our homes our sanctuary from both the colder temperatures and from Covid, you can think out of the box while still shopping within one.

I spy the gorgeous foraged branch work of Colin King.

photography by Nicole Franzen, styling by Colin King for Anthropologie.

How’s everyone doing out there? It’s been another hot minute. How are you holding up? So much is coming at us seemingly every second – it can be hard to keep the day of the week straight. I don’t know about you, but I’m grateful to design for being a welcome distraction when I just need a moment. Even if it takes me three weeks to finally write about it.

Case in point, the San Francisco Decorator’s Showcase. It is one of my favorite design events of the year. I mean what’s not to love? You get to tour a mega-mansion in the city’s famed Pacific Heights neighborhood that’s been newly transformed by extremely talented designers who heap reams of creativity into their rooms.

The Showcase house is a go-to source for major design mojo and truly over the top ideas. After a six month delay, the 2020 Showcase is happening right now – just entirely virtual! While it’s sad to not get to physically walk through the space, the bonus of an online Showcase is anyone can see it.

But I do wish I could experience this beautiful kitchen in person. Designed by Regan Baker, this room showcases a unique mix of color choice and contrasting materials to create a light, airy – dare I say cheerful – kitchen. We could all use a little cheerfulness these days!

As you move through the expansive kitchen – the complete space actually includes two entry points, a built-in breakfast nook and a walk-in pantry – there is a truly unique mix of materials that juxtaposes warm and cool, light and dark, raw and honed yet they all play nicely together.

One such moment of dramatic contrast is the range area you see above. Everything comes into play here from the marble countertops to the custom ceramic backsplash created by local Bay Area artist Linda Fahey (whose store Yonder Shop was one of my mainstays pre-pandemic). All that is mixed with deep warm cabinets displaying spices and oils, while the brass hardware acts like jewelry. The disparate elements balance one another nicely.

A second moment of dramatic contrast is the placement of this custom black hutch. The hutch’s curved top plays off of other curved lines you find in the room, from an arched entryway to the rounded back of the dining sofa and even the beveled edge of the counters. I’m a big fan of furniture pieces that incorporate both closed storage but also room to display prized pieces. I spy lots of Tina Frey and Heath Ceramics in this hutch!

The dining nook continues the juxtaposition theme – pairing multiple wood tones with a custom dining sofa clad in periwinkle boucle. The black table and my favorite U-candle from Glaze also in black add drama and tie in the black hutch. It’s a truly unique mix.

As you move into the pantry the vibe shifts slightly. Gone are any pastel hues. While this is still a very elevated space, it has a more utilitarian look sticking with a consistent palette of warm wood, brass and marble. A built-in coffee station with Heath Ceramic mugs is always a good choice.

Aware of the fact that people of color have long been under-represented in the design industry, Regan Baker Design committed to doing the work to being part of the change.

Regan chose to use her platform to highlight the work of Black female artists throughout her Showcase space. Through the process of discovery and curation, the artists whose work and stories resonated with Regan and her team were Christa David, Marie Alexander, Lauren Pearce, and Tawny Chatmon.

Showcasing different art styes from portraiture to collage, these pieces add another beautiful layer of storytelling to Regan’s already wonderfully layered space. Scroll to see their pieces and be sure to watch the video of interviews with the artists at the end of this post!

 

 

design by regan baker, photography by suzanna scott, styling rosy friedman

Oh hi friend, just popping up for air between homeschooling and well, I guess I’m not getting air because the entire west coast is on fire and the air quality is some of the worst in the world. Did you hear that the presidential election is now less than 50 days away. Have you registered to vote? Ensured you’ll receive your mail-in ballot? Have a voting plan? CLICK HERE if not.

Idea to Steal: Wall-to-Wall Headboards

But I digress. As you might have seen last week, I have new project that is distracting me from impending doom – the Hood Canal Coastal Cottage and I have been diving deeeeep in design this past week as our timeline to get this baby done is mega short. Like six weeks short. But I’ll dig into all those details once we actually close and I can walk you through everything.

For now, let’s have a convo about bedrooms, shall we? We spend a lot of time in them right? I tend to work from mine late into the wee hours. One of the biggest trouble spots I’m running into with the Coastal Cottage are the bedrooms. I think bedrooms are my achilles heel (as was evidenced by our guest room in This Old Victorian. And the main bedroom. But who’s counting.) It just feels impossible to come up with something that seems interesting (without resorting to majorly expensive finishes or design elements and we are on a budget here people! More on that discussion to come as well).

Living spaces are my jam. I can walk into any type of living space and visualize what it needs almost instantly. Maybe it’s because bedrooms are usually just a box, and often a pretty small one that limits my thinking. I just have the hardest time coming up with innovative solutions for bedroom design. But one idea has been catching my eye in all my late-night scrolling – so much so that I just had to whip up this post for you.

My latest Idea to Steal (and the one I’m trying to convince the husband to let me do in the Coastal Cottage) is wall-to-wall headboards.

Idea to Steal: Wall-to-Wall Headboards on Apartment34Idea to Steal: Wall-to-Wall Headboards on Apartment34Idea to Steal: Wall-to-Wall Headboards on Apartment34Idea to Steal: Wall-to-Wall Headboards on Apartment34

You might also call this look a bed ledge. The utility of wall-to-wall headboards are endless. It’s an easy way to inject another color, wood tone or texture to your bedroom. You can also use the wall-to-wall headboard to house bedside tables and lighting, saving floor space and keeping things minimal.

But I also love that the bed ledge offers the perfect spot to display pieces you love. From artwork to plants, vases or ceramics – you have a spot to add life and personality to your space without adding additional furniture to your room.

The challenge is with the wall-to-wall headboard is actually creating one. This isn’t an off the shelf solution. You’ll likely need to employ a carpenter or be very industrious with your DIYs to create something that works. I’ve seen very simple pine and even particle board versions that don’t seem too intimidating. But slatted wall-to-wall headboards or versions with more design detail could require a pro. I would argue the investment is worth it.

How about you? Maybe if this post gets enough comments, my husband will be convinced!

For our entire Idea to Steal archive CLICK HERE.

images the local project / leibalstudiomk27 / barnabylane, cultiver

Hi friends. So sorry to go completely MIA on you. Between attempting online school with a five-year-old, much of California burning to the ground, and the general state total chaos in which we find ourselves, getting to the computer for any length of time has been a bit of challenge, to put it mildly. And then I blinked and summer is officially over.

But I had to finally get on here as I have big news for you!

They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions during times of extreme stress, right? Well, we decided to throw all caution to the wind and instead have purchased a coastal cottage in Washington State! Apparently a global pandemic, homeschooling a kindergartner and the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime wasn’t enough to keep me busy.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

In all seriousness, if the past seven months of Covid have taught us anything, it’s the importance of friends and family and so we decided to create a gathering place that can bring together those we love most for years to come. Nestled within the myriad of inlets and islands that dot the Puget Sound north of Seattle, the cottage enjoys sweeping views of the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. I consider it my official respite from the impending doom. Sadly it looks nothing like the inspiration images I’ve collected here.

Instead, it is going to take a LOT of work to get our little coastal cottage visitor ready – and in a very short period of time. Over the coming weeks, I plan to take you along on the entire design journey. I will be sharing everything with you – from the cottage’s current state, to all of my design inspiration and through the remodel process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll share a major before and after reveal in time to spend the holiday season with our family rather than more than 800 miles away.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

Trust me, we’re going to have plenty to discuss, as I have to pick an entire household’s worth of things – from paint colors and kitchen cabinets down to dishware, bedding and everything in between. No design decision will be left unturned. It’s both exhilarating and incredibly daunting. These mood boards are just part my first ideation session for my dream vibe.

I’m hopeful sharing this process with you will offer you some fresh design ideas and positive inspiration as we all hunker down to weather what will undoubtedly be a stormy fall – be it literally or just politically. It’s been a rather dark year and I feel like this might be a way to share a little bit of light. I know I am very happy for the creative distraction. I hope you are too.

I can’t wait to share more very soon!

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’ve long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it started when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the United States. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel open, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, that all shows much more on dark floors. Trust me, I’ve had dark floors and it was not so fun.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can/should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that kitchen is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor everything.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

 

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

 

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

A design trend has slowly been creeping into my consciousness of late, but the look has officially taken on must-have status. I need a pleated lampshade in my life! It is my latest Idea to Steal.

Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

Be they pendants, floor lamps, or for the table, a light with a pleated shade is suddenly feeling rather chic. A pleated lampshade is a great way to add more interest and texture to space. While I’ve seen them in a myriad of colors, I do prefer a crisp white option with a knife pleat.

The secret to keeping the look from going too “grandma” is pairing a pleated shade with a fixture that has a modern feel. Think of a simple cord pendant, an elegant minimal floor lamp, or a modern ceramic lamp.

Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34 Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

There are a number of gorgeous vintage pleated lamps out there. The Mads Caprani Arc Floor from the 1970s is definitely having a moment. There are also many sites that sell vintage lamps from Scandinavia. They can be from the 1940’s all the way through mid-century. One of my go-to resources for v is Counter Space in LA. I’m currently coveting the pleated table lamp by Hay design. It’s actually the primary design inspiration for the Apartment 34 studio design – but that story is still to come!

 

Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34Pleated lampshade on Apartment 34

What do you think of the pleated lampshade trend? Do you have one in your house yet?

For more theft-worthy design ideas, CLICK HERE.

 

 

images via curated spaces / the dreslyn / h&m home / 1st dibs / curated spaces / 20modern / sarah nedovic / finnish design shop

 

 

 

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